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Need assistance with 15 break. Vermont

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  • Need assistance with 15 break. Vermont

    I work in the Hotel/Motel industry. I am a excellent worker , who happens to be a smoker. I work seven hours a day usually. My problem is that my boss will not allow me even five ( 5 ) minutes to go outside and smoke a cigarette. Is this legal and what about the 15 minute mandatory break required for all employees who work more than four ( 4 ) consecutive hours ? Please help me.........I am a female and my boss does not like females. What are the laws and my options ? Thank you to everyone who helps answer my question.
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  • #2
    Is this legal Yes.

    and what about the 15 minute mandatory break required for all employees who work more than four ( 4 ) consecutive hours ? There is no such law in VT, or any other state except Illinois.

    No law in any state requires employers to give smoking breaks. Ever.

    The law in Vermont requires that you be given "reasonable" time (reasonable is not defined) to eat and use the restroom. That is all that is required by law in your state.

    Your options are to refrain from smoking while at work, or to find an employer that allows smoke breaks.
    The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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    • #3
      CBG - aren't there "rest break" laws in CA, Colorado, Kentucky, Minnesota, Nevada, Oregon and Washington? At least some kind of breaks, according to this: http://www.dol.gov/esa/programs/whd/state/rest.htm

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      • #4
        My understanding that those are 10 minute break states. IL is the only 15 minute break state (and my understanding is that is industry specific). Some states have 10 minute break rules. Many states have no break requirements at all.

        Federal rules discuss whether or not breaks and lunch need to be paid, but have no requirement that either occur.
        "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
        Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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        • #5
          Originally posted by martinigirl View Post
          CBG - aren't there "rest break" laws in CA, Colorado, Kentucky, Minnesota, Nevada, Oregon and Washington? At least some kind of breaks, according to this: http://www.dol.gov/esa/programs/whd/state/rest.htm
          Rest breaks may be required in some states. NO state requires smoking breaks.
          I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.
          Thomas Jefferson

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          • #6
            Thankyou for the replies.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by DAW View Post
              My understanding that those are 10 minute break states. IL is the only 15 minute break state (and my understanding is that is industry specific)
              That's correct. It only applies to hotel room attendants in Cook County Il. (15 minute paid rest breaks)
              Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

              Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

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              • #8
                There are rest breaks required in other states. There are no 15 minute rest breaks required anywhere in the US except for some hotel workers in IL.

                Since this OP is also a hotel worker, I am certain that she heard about the IL law and assumed it applied to hotel workers in all states, which is not the case.
                The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by ankiel View Post
                  What are the laws and my options ?
                  The US Dept of Labor web site reports that Vermont does not require lunch or any other breaks.

                  No company is required to accomodate smoking habits, with the exception of a few states that don't allow companies to refuse employment to those that smoke away from work.

                  If male smokers are allowed to take breaks to smoke and you are not, a case might be made for discrimination based upon sex. You could try to get the EEOC or the Vermont Human Rights Commission to look at this, IF, all else being equal, males get privileges denied to you and other women.

                  Aside from that issue, not all employers expect employees to be on their feet for eight hours straight. In my experience, few are so stupid. Find another place to work.
                  Senior Professional in Human Resources and Certified Staffing Professional with over 30 years experience. Any advice provided is based upon experience and education, but does not constitute legal advice.

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